FAQs M.Ed. in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Q: Can I be admitted with a degree in something other than communication sciences and disorders?
A: Yes. We have designed the Track II curriculum especially for this purpose.
Q: May I visit your Program before applying?
A: Yes, we host scheduled visitation dates and are happy to meet with prospective students. The current schedule for visits is posted on our website.
Q: Does admission to your Program require an interview?
A: Yes. Individuals who are invited to complete an online interview will be notified by email. Applicants should monitor their email, including junk/spam folders, from mid-December through mid-February to ensure that they do not ignore an invitation to interview.
Q: What is the difference between the Track I and Track II curricula?
A: The Track I curriculum is designed for individuals having an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders. Students following the Track I curriculum generally complete all requirements in five semesters (including summer).
The Track II curriculum is designed for individuals having an undergraduate degree in something other than communication disorders. Students following the Track II curriculum generally complete all requirements in seven semesters (including summers). The additional coursework centers on pre-professional courses that are prerequisites for entering courses that address one or another form of communication disorders.
Q: I see that Speech Language Pathologists often work with clients in small groups or individual sessions. Would SLP be a good career for someone who has social anxiety or is an introvert?
A: It is possible for people who have naturally introverted personalities to become successful speech language clinicians. This does, however, require the rapid development of a clinical persona (or interactive style) which the graduate student can deploy for the purposes of meeting their clients’ clinical needs. SLPs activate their own social strengths to help clients develop improved communication abilities. This is an unrelenting, moment-by-moment component of the profession that may not be obvious to an onlooker. Therapeutic services require SLPs to have interactive skills that are well-developed and highly adaptable. Throughout clinical training, graduate students must be primarily focused on the clients’ needs rather than their own personal comfort. In addition, clinical sessions are always observed and often videotaped so that students and supervisors can closely analyze performance with the goal of identifying teaching or interactive skills that the graduate student should improve. This is the nature of the profession and the nature of clinical training. Graduate students who are significantly introverted or who have substantial social anxiety may find the clinical requirements of the profession to be inherently taxing. The requirement for constant, intense interaction with others may make the career path less satisfying over the long term for some individuals who struggle with introversion or social anxiety.
Q: How many students are in your master’s degree program?
A: At any point in time, we have approximately 70 master’s degree students at various stages of the curricula.
Q: Does your Program provide financial assistance?
A: Yes; however, the program does not provide full scholarships to master’s degree students, nor can it provide financial assistance to every student. It is extremely important that applicants who wish to be considered for financial assistance check the box on the application which indicates they wish to receive financial assistance from the School of Education and Human Development. Applicants should also complete a FAFSA application through the University’s Office of Financial Aid prior to the due date. We encourage students to apply for all forms of financial assistance, including work study. Please visit the Office of Financial Aid web page. Also check with organizations such as the Communication Disorders Foundation of Virginia for scholarship opportunities.
Q: What is the cost of tuition?
A: For current information about tuition and fees,(Search for 'Education' under the GRADUATE CREDIT HOURS table.)
Q: Is your Program clinic or research based?
A: Both. The master’s degree is a clinical degree and our curriculum reflects our commitment to strong clinical training. However, the University of Virginia is a research university and our curriculum reflects a commitment to that aspect of education as well.
Q: What is the general sequence for completing practicum experiences?
A: All students complete at least two practicum assignments in our clinic (under the supervision of UVA Clinical Supervisors) before being assigned to an off-site location. After establishing core competencies in our clinic, each student completes at least two externships; one must be in a public school and the other must be with adults, usually in a health care setting. An externship typically involves a three-day/week commitment while students continue to take courses at the University. The last semester is dedicated to a full-time clinical internship while also preparing for and completing comprehensive examinations.
Q: Do students complete their externships in the area of the University?
A: As of Fall 2020, most externships are outside of central Virginia. Students take classes online during their externship semesters.
Similarly, internship sites are throughout the United States with only a few internship possibilities available in or around Charlottesville. We work with students to develop contracts with sites where the student would like to live during externships and internships.
Q: What are the University’s requirements for Virginia residency?
A: For authoritative information and access to related forms, please visit the University Admissions web page.
Q: Can courses taken as part of my undergraduate program fulfill graduate requirements at the University of Virginia?
A: For Track I students entering the graduate program with undergraduate preparation in communication sciences and disorders (CSD), courses in *Basic Human Communication may fulfill pre-professional coursework requirements in our Program. For example, courses in anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms, phonetics, speech and hearing science, audiology and statistics judged by the student’s academic advisor to be equivalent to UVA courses will be accepted. Decisions are made by the student’s advisor during the advising period that precedes the beginning of Fall Semester classes. A course from another university cannot substitute for a UVA pre-professional course unless the student earned a grade of B- or better.
Track I students with undergraduate degrees in CSD who have not taken (and passed with a grade of B- or better) the equivalent of all UVA pre-professional courses will need to do so at the graduate level (this may extend the student’s program). Because a college-level statistics course serves as the prerequisite for a Fall Semester course, Track I students must complete this requirement before entering the graduate program (or plan to extend their program). A statistics course can be taken at UVA during the summer preceding the student’s first Fall Semester, or at another institution (including a community college).
Graduate courses completed at other ASHA-accredited programs in CSD may be accepted as replacements for up to six hours of *Professional Coursework (i.e., 700- and 800-level courses) in the UVA Speech Communication Disorders Program. Course substitution is contingent upon approval from the student’s academic advisor during the advising period that precedes the beginning of Fall Semester classes. Students must have received a grade of B- or better for consideration of a course waiver, and documentation for the course proposed as a substitute must be provided.
In addition, ASHA requires at least one course in the biological sciences, the physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences for professional certification. Students who did not fulfill these general education requirements as undergraduate students will need to do so before beginning their graduate training. In other words, deficiencies in any of these courses will prevent students from enrolling. If that were to happen, a student will be allowed to defer enrollment for one year to complete the deficiencies, after which the offer of admission will be void.
*Category specified in the ASHA Membership and Certification Handbook
Q: I have accumulated 25 observation hours through my undergraduate program in CSD. Will those hours transfer into the Speech Communication Disorders Program at UVA?
A: Yes, if you have documentation for clinical observation hours from a university program, they will transfer into the Communication Disorders Program at UVA. If you have not completed 25 observation hours, or you do not have documentation for them, you can complete this requirement as part of your graduate program.
Q: I earned clinical hours in my undergraduate program. Will those hours transfer into the Speech Communication Disorders Program at UVA?
A: Up to 50 clinical hours acquired at the undergraduate level can be applied toward the 375 hour minimum required by ASHA for certification. In order for hours to be used, the clinician supervising the undergraduate experience must have been a speech-language pathologist (or audiologist in the case of hearing screening/treatment hours or speech-language screening hours) holding ASHA certification, who signed for the hours, and provided his/her printed name and ASHA number.
Q: What should I do to prepare for the graduate program before I begin?
A: After accepting admission to our program, students should activate their UVA email address right away. Step-by-step instructions are available here: New to UVA IT Checklist - UVA ITS (service-now.com)
Our current graduate students will reach out to new incoming students by mid-May. In early June, new students are given access to a Canvas site with resources and instructions for tasks that need to be completed before arriving in August.
Q: Do you have a graduate program in audiology?
A: No, unfortunately, we no longer have a graduate program in audiology.
Q: I speak English, but it is not my first language. Will that be a problem?
A: Because oral communication skills are essential for clinical practice in speech-language pathology, students must demonstrate proficiency before they can begin clinical assignments. Although unlikely, it is possible that an international student might be able to complete coursework and earn a master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology but be unable to complete all practicum requirements (i.e., work with all clients). Students whose oral communication skills do not allow them to complete all practicum requirements may not be eligible to apply for ASHA certification following graduation. In the case of international students who plan to practice outside the United States, ASHA certification may not be necessary.
Students who initially are ineligible for practicum assignments may opt to engage in a treatment program to improve their oral communication skills at the UVA Speech-Language-Hearing Center. If proficiency can be demonstrated following treatment, the student will be able to complete practicum requirements and apply for ASHA certification following graduation.